What Gerry Wants


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams

Last night.

Gerry Adams went on Drivetime on RTE Radio One last night with host Mary Wilson pressing the Sinn Féin President on what exactly his and his party’s ambitions are.

Mary Wilson: ““Where do you see yourself, and your party, in the last year before a General Election?”

Gerry Adams: “Well, you said should a debate necessarily involve Fianna Fail, of course it should involve Fianna Fail, it should involve all main political parties, all the political parties should have their say in these matters. I agree with Micheal Martin about two things, one is that the Taoiseach is notoriously shy about debate. He won’t do it in the Dail, he does his set pieces, he’s very well handled by his very very well paid advisors, and, secondly, when Micheal Martin says that Fine Gael and Labour are implementing Fianna Fail policy, then he’s 100% right, that’s exactly what they’re doing, and that’s why Fianna Fail has no real alternative to offer in terms of the austerity-driven, narrow view of the huge price being paid by people on hospital trolleys, children, young people being scattered throughout the world, public services being destroyed, Fianna Fail helped to bring all of that about, Sinn Fein is of course putting forward an obvious alternative, it’s pro-public service, pro-business, pro-a United Ireland view, and we think that the debate should encompass all of these opinions.”

“And where do you see yourself, as a party now? Do you see yourself as a party for power? Do you see yourself as Adams for Taoiseach, going into the next election?”

“No, I’m not, I don’t see myself in that way at all. I think there are two phases to the next period that we’re in. We’re first of all in a period of great flux in Irish politics, a lot of people have turned away from the old two-party dominated State that we’ve had since partition. So what are the two phases, number one, Sinn Fein wants to persuade as many people as possible to give us a mandate for government and then, depending on the strength of that mandate, we want to negotiate out a programme for government which will be about a fair recovery, which will be about bringing the jobs, rebuilding public services, rebuilding the damage done in the first place by Fianna Fail and then further damaged by this Fine Gael and Labour coalition.”

“But doesn’t the electorate, Gerry Adams, doesn’t the electorate need to know if they’re voting for a party that wants to lead government. Do you want to be Taoiseach?”

“But of course, of course we want to lead government, but, we have to be humble about this. You see, the election, Mary, is the people’s day, and some people are turned off because of all the promises that have been made, particularly in the last…”

“People need to know what they’re voting for as well, Deputy Adams.”

“Of course, of course. That’s why the type of debate we need is one which is inclusive. What Micheal Martin was trying to do was to reinsert himself into the debate, because basically there is two main opinions here, one is the opinion of Sinn Fein for a fairer society based upon decency and equality, and then there’s the other, the view which is polarising society, which is opening up the gap, at the moment there are a number of people in jail, some of whom, I understand, are on hunger strike, we don’t have the same attitude to those in the upper echelons who created the mess that we’re all in.”

“But in terms of another general election, what is your pitch? Because I think we heard Micheal’s Martin’s pitch this morning, it was a pitch for power.”

Adams: “Yes and we want to be in power.”

Wilson: “But I’m not sure you do, do you want to be Taoiseach?”

Adams: “Well, you see, I don’t want to… Micheal said he was preparing to be Taoiseach, and fair play to him, and i remember Eamon Gilmore we were told, it was Gilmore for Taoiseach. I’ve said clearly, Sinn Fein wants to be in government, but we want to be in government to do the business of reconstructing society of developing the egalitarian intent of the 1916 proclamation. If we get the mandate, then the party of Sinn Fein will negotiate with others who may want to be in government with us.”

Wilson: “Who will you negotiate with?”

Adams: “And then we will work out…”

Wilson: “Who will you negotiate with? The others who want to be in power with you, who are they?”

Adams: “And that’s why I say, two phases. Phase No 1, get the biggest single mandate possible for a genuine republican government, which will set about…”

Wilson: “But I don’t know, I still don’t know, Gerry Adams, I still don’t know if you want to be Taoiseach or Tanaiste.”

Adams: “But Mary, I’m avoiding that question because it’s not a matter of me being arrogant enough to think before even a vote is cast that I’m going to go about saying that I want to be Taoiseach. I want our party, the Sinn Fein party, to get the largest vote possible for change, I’ve also ben advocating a Charter for Citizens, the principles which would underpin a fair recovery, that’s where our focus is, our focus is on reaching out to those people who have, I think, seen that the conservative policies of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are not working except to the advantage of the elite. We want to defend rural Ireland, we want to move forward on the basis of using the surplus, using the wealth, to rebuild the public service, we want to continue with the work of the Good Friday agreement and move towards Irish unity.”

Wilson: “So, Gerry Adams…”

Adams: “A clear programme, so who leads us, if we get that mandate, and who we do business with, will be what the people say.”

Wilson: “So, Gerry Adams, where are you on the political spectrum? A lot of people, you know, questioning if you’re a party of the left. Syriza in Greece has been keen, you know, to associate with you, yourselves and Podemos in Spain, so, you know, are you a party of the left, are you the Irish Syriza?”

Adams: “No, we’re not the Irish Syriza, we’re the Sinn Fein party, a historic party which bases our values on the core values of the 1916 Proclamation, so were a party which has a very very firm objective of uniting people of this country, we believe in citizens’ rights.”

Wilson: “Are you a party of the left?”

Adams: “We believe that in a real republic those rights that citizens have would be in this period of our history involve the right to health services, the right to a home, the right to a clean environment to a job, the right no matter where you live on the island to be looked after and no matter about your age or any infirmity to be looked after first and foremost and society to be shaped around your entitlement to be treated properly.”

Wilson: “Okay, are you a party of the left?”

Adams: “Yes, broadly speaking we are. But, there are people in our party who might not necessarily subscribe to a socialist view of the island but who do believe in a real Republic, we haven’t got rid of partition yet, there are people in our party and in all the parties if I might say so who want to see an end to partition but our party is the only party which is going to drive with others a way forward to ending partition and you won’t get a real republic unless you get the right of partition, so it’s all about a citizen-centred, rights-based society, so I suppose what we have at the moment, complete inequality and a deep chasm between people who would have normally seen themselves as relatively well off and now they’re in dire straits and those who are in the upper echelons, the people the Taoiseach was appealing to at his party, he doesn’t even call it an Ard Fheis any more, his party conference.”

Wilson: “Based around what you’re articulating there about where your party would like to bring our country to, could you agree a deal on these issues with Fianna Fail or Fine Gael or the Labour party?”

Adams: “Well, I think, I think some of the policy difference between us and some of those other parties would be too deep and too wide for us to bridge.”

Wilson: “Which ones?”

Adams: “But I can tell you we will not do what Labour has done. We will not go in as a junior partner into a coalition led by a conservative government, that would destroy our national project, it would betray the people who would be be voting for us and it would be totally and absolutely counterproductive. Mary, you have to judge Sinn Fein on the changes that we, with others, have been able to bring about, in this part of the island, but also, particularly in the last thirty years, in the North.”

“We have heard the other parties say a very definite no to Sinn Fein, are you saying a very definite no to sharing power to anybody.”

Adams: “Well, Ian Paisley used to say no, he used to say it quite a lot. Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail all presided over regimes at different times, that censored republicans, that didn’t recognise our mandate. We will only go into government if there is a mandate, in the first instance, to go into government and if we can negotiate a programme for government that will fulfill the mandate. We will not tear up our mandate, we will not tear up our manifesto, and leave our principles outside the door out of a cabinet room. Let’s see what comes up in the mix, there’s a huge opportunity for people who have had their eyes opened by the last ten, or fifteen, or twenty years of bad politics, that those people seize the opportunity to make the change and vote for Sinn Fein, and what the Taoiseach should do, Mary, why doesn’t he call an election, let the people have their say. He says Paddy wants to know, well Paddy, and Patricia, should have the chance as soon as possible to vote.”

Wilson: “Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, thank you.”


Listen in full here

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50 thoughts on “What Gerry Wants

  1. Mr. T.

    Mary Wilson makes my ears bleed. As does Gavin Jennings with his repeated questioning to sound hard hitting and tough, Aine Lawlor and her silly girly approach to news, Cathal McCoille and his default chastising tone used against anyone who opposes the Government line.

    RTE are a bunch of overpaid self serving hacks.

    1. Bluebeard

      + €160. Morning Ireland is the angriest, programme I know. Anyone listening to RTE would think we are living in a gulag. And the prissy, purse-lipped teacher tones of Wilson remind me of a bitter nun.
      As for Lawlor. Total fake. Wanna be liked…

        1. bisted

          Mary Hannafan
          Mary McAleese
          Mary O’Rourke
          Mary Banotti
          Mary Robinson
          Mary Minihan
          Mary D Higgins
          Mary Bean Ui Cribbin
          Mary M Contrarian
          Mary Healy Eames

      1. ollie

        nope. the contempt by the state broadcaster for the second largest political party in ireland is lamentable.

  2. Unreconstructed

    Adams came across very well in that interview, the written version anyway. It won’t have done Sinn Fein any harm.

  3. Soundings

    Jaysus, if a party that used to be Marxist has to hum-and-hah about whether it’s “on the left”, that’s pretty dire, even for a politician.

    Can anyone name a left wing party anywhere in the world which wants to halve corporate tax rates as SF wants in Northern Ireland, where it is seeking to reduce the 21% rate to 12.5%, and it will be making up the shortfall in corporation tax revenue by cutting public sector jobs by 10% (on top of the 10% needed to balance the budget and introduce welfare reforms).

    No wonder the socialists have stolen the Shinner mantle in west and south west Dublin. At least they’re upfront and clear about what they want, even if it sounds batsh*t crazy to some.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        ‘daycent’ …as in Gerry can put himself across well in light interviews. He’s quite an astute politician most of the time, he knows the media and how it works better than practically all, if not all, the politicians on this island.

        But I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw the head in your avatar :)

        1. JimmytheHead

          Well he was very adamant about not being in the line for Taoiseach, tho I would happily vote for him over the other vicious parasites chomping at the bit to have a go.

          In before “pedo hiding terrorist”. Still more honest than *insert name of any random political party*

      1. Clampers Outside!

        If you read what he said…. it’s that he doesn’t think this election is the time.

        The man plays a long game, and he hasn’t ruled it out altogether, just out of the next election.

  4. Spaghetti Hoop

    Heard the interview. Actually cringed when I heard the Taoiseach or Tanaiste question. Is this career-interview-style something these journos high-five each other in the pub afterwards?

    1. JimmytheHead

      Cutting edge journalism….

      “Are you going to work with other parties?”


      (5 minutes later)

      “Are you saying you dont want to work with other parties?”


  5. Frilly Keane

    If this Government insists on riding us to ride on till next year, we need a few more advocates for a Citizens Charter.

  6. Barry the Hatchet

    Well that was a bleak snapshot of the state of journalism in this country. Should’ve stayed in bed this morning, Mary.

  7. spork

    “move towards irish unity”

    the man’s funny, i’ll give him that.

    gerry must’ve forgotten that basically everyone down here voted against that, and why in the hell would any nordy vote for it?

    it’s probably hard for gerry that he dedicated his life, and many other lives in a more literal sense, to something that no right minded person should care about anymore.

      1. Kolmo

        A lot of people in the country quietly aspire to a united Ireland, but at the same time there is an amnesiac minority quietly aspiring for us all to join a British ‘Commonwealth’

        1. ahjayzis

          I really think a lot of people think a ‘united Ireland’ means adding 6 counties to the existing Republic as if there’s no downside. That’ll never, ever happen, it’s completely unthinkable.

          We’d have to agree a new flag, a new anthem, a new political system entirely. Venerations of things like 1916 would be massively controversial, unless we declare the 12th a national holiday or something. Possibly federalise the whole place or autonomous region status for like, three counties in NI, new constitution, closer ties to Britain. Ireland would be completely unrecognisable from either NI or RoI today.

          ‘End partition’ is a stupid, vapid term, you could end partition a week after it was enacted, but 90+ years afterwards you’re talking about dissolving two modern countries and creating from scratch a completely new one while appeasing a pretty hostile minority in the process.

  8. ahjayzis

    No party that actually wants to capture enough support to lead a government in Ireland would keep something like Adams at it’s head. They want to be the largest opposition party in the next Dail, they’ll switch to Merdy Lou mid-way, and go for as close to an overall majority + independents in 2020 or whenever.

    They’re a pragmatic bunch, they know Adams will turn just enough people away to keep them from getting into government – it’s a long game!

  9. eileen

    He s playing the game really well. All he has to do is to do nothing like fine Gael when they were in opposition.

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